One focus of research activities in 2010 in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering was energy, a highly topical subject of great long-term importance. The research covers entirely different facets of this topic, including processes for the conversion and storage of different forms of energy, materials which enable these processes, the efficient use of energy, and the economic and social implementation of related applications. Central to this work are the cooperative interdisciplinary research project NETZ (NanoEnergyTechnologyCenter), the Fuel Cell Research Center ZBT, and colognE-mobil.
NETZ is a technology platform for the production of functional surfaces and films for energy technology applications. It was initiated by the Institute for Combustion and Gasdynamics (Professor Christof Schulz) and is now entering its second phase. In November 2010, the launch of the 43 million euro project for a new building complex was celebrated with the NRW Innovation Minister, Svenja Schulze. The research building is scheduled to be operational in 2012.
In the pilot plant for fuel cell assembly, individual fuel cells and complete stacks are built from the bipolar plates manufactured at the Chair of Energy Technology (Professor Angelika Heinzel) and commercial membrane-electrode units. As part of the ongoing colognE-mobil project, work
is being conducted into fundamental aspects of battery lifetime. Typical load profiles are applied in order to investigate the dynamics of charging and discharging batteries and their influence on battery performance.
In cooperation with the fem – Research Institute for Precious Metals & Metals Chemistry – and the Fuel Cell Research Center ZBT, the Chair of Manufacturing Technology (Professor Gerd Witt, funded by the BMWi/AiF) developed a new process combination for the production of injection molding tools. The use of standardised forms minimises the number of variants compared with conventional tool manufacturing methods.
Together with the Chair of Dynamics and Control (Professor Dirk Söffker), the Chair of Energy Technology (Professor Angelika Heinzel) operates a hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) test rig which allows concrete experimental investigation of components and fuel cell-based hybrid electromechanical drive trains in variable topology.
As part of the colognE-mobil project funded by the Federal Government, the CAR Institute (Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer) is investigating the acceptance of electromobility by users, pedestrians, and disabled people. The project is part of the Rhine-Ruhr Electric Mobility Pilot Region. Sub-projects on the “Pricing of Electric Mobility” and “Market Research of Mobility Products” have been in progress since January 2010 (Professor Heike Proff). Within these projects, the researchers have conducted surveys on the importance of brands and buying patterns in electric mobility, and polled political players for their assessment of the future political conditions surrounding electric mobility. The “New Business Models for the Transition to Electric Mobility” project is accompanying the state’s ElektroMobil.NRW competition.
The Chair of Mechatronics (Professor Dieter Schramm) received approval in 2010 to contribute to the EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr. It will develop a novel, energy efficient and extremely fast system for the deposition and removal of goods in high rack storage. In automotive engineering, the Chair played an active role in colognE-mobil and successfully completed projects with industrial partners on future driving assistance systems.
The BMWi granted a research project with a volume of two million euros to the Chair of Turbo­machinery (Professor Friedrich-Karl Benra) for the improvement of gas turbine efficiency by water injection.